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Philosophical Perspectives on the Self


Joao Fonseca and Jorge Goncalves

For the last decade the topic of the Self has been under intense scrutiny from researchers of various areas spanning from philosophy, neurosciences, and psychology to anthropology and sociology. The present volume addresses the Self under different and influent philosophical perspectives: from phenomenology and psychoanalysis to metaphysics and neurophilosophy and discusses several and distinct problems such as personal identity, the core/narrative self-distinction, psychopathologies, the mind-body problem and the nature of the relations between self, consciousness and emotions. The book reflects these different philosophical problems and approaches and aims to provide a map of current philosophical perspectives on the topic of the Self.
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De Se Attitudes and Semiotic Aspects of Cognition




In this article, I will re-examine some of the classical puzzles for de se attitudes that have been laid out by Hector-Neri Castañeda, David Lewis and John Perry in various articles and compare them with Jackson’s Knowledge Argument. The origins of these puzzles go further back to work by Russell on egocentric particulars, by Frege in ‘Der Gedanke’, Wittgenstein’s considerations on subject-uses of I in the Blue Book, and work by Roderick Chisholm. Nevertheless, it is fair to say that de se puzzles gained widespread popularity only later due to publications by Castañeda (1967), Perry (1977, 1979), and Lewis (1979).

The article starts with a survey of well-known de se puzzles: Perry’s supermarket example, his Rudolf Lingens example, and David Lewis’s Two Gods thought experiment. I will then discuss Jackson’s Mary example, which bears a striking similarity to de se puzzles. After this primarily exegetical part, I will address the question regarding what these puzzles have been taken to show and what they really show. My central thesis is that typical de se puzzles reveal an important and epistemically irreducible aspect of thinking, but do not allow for any conclusions regarding physicalism and the Mind-Body problem. As I will argue, there is a special kind of introspective knowledge, the existence of which is fully compatible with physicalism and this special kind of ← 121 | 122 → knowledge results from the fact that all sorts of episodal thoughts plays a...

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